In the face of criticism being expressed by customers against electricity Distribution Companies, Discos on the take over of properties bought by the former, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) said that Discos assume ownership of the electrical assets voluntarily to ensure safety.
Speaking on the issue, ANED’s Executive Director for Research and Advocacy, Sunday Oduntan said it also boils down to the need to ensure indemnity.
ANED said that it is necessary to respond to public enquiries on why its members take control of such assets bought by communities as well as why it charges a fee for reconnection.
“Many people have asked that question and the answer is simple, and we feel it is important to shed light on it for the sake of public awareness. It is a case of indemnity and protection.
“The Discos take responsibility for any incident that happens with those infrastructure. It is important for Nigerians to understand that Discos have a responsibility to ensure that only good quality equipment duly certified by Nigerian Electricity Management and Safety Agency (NEMSA) are installed in our network,” the spokesman said.
According to him, after installation, Discos will have to take steps to protect such equipment such that it will be safe for use by customers.
“We have had occasions where some transformers that were installed in the days of PHCN, for instance in Lugbe, Abuja, caused electrocution.
“We need to protect the equipment and ensure that access is only granted to qualified personnel. People have lost their lives because they were trying to maintain their transformers,” ANED added.
The association added that this was why it often request that customers write letter of donation to the Discos, stressing that if the items do not belong to the Discos, they cannot exercise any right over their use, neither would they bear liability for any incident that occurs thereafter.
“It is our responsibility as Discos to make electricity infrastructure available and we do a lot of this. However, in situations where the demand is far more than supply due to shortage of funds, customers do step in to help their communities,” the Discos noted.
ANED lanented that the absence of infrastructure was acute across the length and breadth of the country.
According to ANED, it isunderstandable when communities decide to step in rather than take the option of waiting till resources needed to services their needs are appropriated by their respective Discos.
“The issue of community volunteering is very clearly stipulated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). For those who follow NERC’s guidelines, there will be no argument at the end of the day,” Oduntan said.